GET INSPIRED: How I Learned to be True to Myself
Yoga helped this young man lop off his “locs,” see himself differently, and empower others to look within for the answers they seek.
My name is Eddie Reed and I am a symbol of change. Throughout my entire life I have been an outcast and a challenger of the status quo. I got into Japanese anime in high school—specifically Naruto—which changed my life for the better. It taught me empathy and the importance of being true to myself; and it taught me that strength comes from being unique. I went to A&M for college and, as a Black man from inner city Houston, I found its culture very dissuading. I considered cutting my hair or dying it as a way of fitting in; I’m so thankful that I didn’t. Instead I chose to embrace all that I was by focusing inward and not on others’ perceptions of me. My “locs” became my identity, my brand, part of who I was.
My cousin introduced me to yoga one weekend in 2016, when he came to visit. We chose five poses and held each pose for two to three minutes. I remember thinking “Man this is tiring!” But, after we finished our sequence, I experienced a state of euphoria I’ve never felt before. Shortly after that, I signed up for a semester-long kinesiology class in yoga so I could receive instructions from a certified teacher. During that semester I discovered what true strength is, how to mindfully regulate my body, how to quiet the world around me. Being one of only two males in the class gave me a sense of pride because I found yoga, a journey often overlooked by men because of overactive egos.
After my fifth yoga class or so, I knew I wanted to teach yoga. I wanted to teach everyone, touching the lives of all people within every community, leading them on a path of self-awareness. My entire life I've felt confident in myself; sure, some days I'm more confident than others, but thanks to yoga I can accept that and experience the present for what it is. Yoga found me when I needed it most—as a college student—when doubt and self sabotage is most prevalent. And I wanted to give that gift to others.
YogaFit’s Level Three theme is introspection. The day before the training started, I cut my hair off, something I was never willing to do before. This time was different because I knew in Level Three, I would have 5 years worth of emotions and memories to reflect on. When I cut my hair, I looked in the mirror and the transition was seamless. The face reflected back at me was the face I knew as a child. Yoga allowed me to see and experience this face, my whole being from a different perspective, through my photographic lens. The transition from the locs to a fade was easier for me than everyone around me. When I first got my locs, in my junior year of high school, nobody liked them. Four years later, when I cut them off, everyone was sad!
My yoga journey feels like a path of no return—in a good way. Every training, every practice I do, and every book I read help craft the being I aspire to be.This year I will be a 200 hour RYT. With this credential I will be able to empower athletes, families, and individuals to look within for the answers they seek.
For more information on Level Three: Introspection, click here.